Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What to do with those wilted roses

Valentine's Day (and our seventh wedding anniversary) are now behind us, but if you are like me you now have a bouquet of wilted flowers sitting somewhere.  My sweet husband spent time and money to send me this thoughtful arrangement and now it's starting to die off, one type of flower at a time.

The first of the flowers to go were the roses.  Now, husband knows I'm not a huge fan of roses so he always gets me an arrangement of lilies and orchids.  Those are my favorites.  This years Valenversary arrangement contained three purple roses in the mix. After a quick Google search, I learned it's really easy to make rose water from your cut roses.

Basically, pull off the petals. Put them in a pot and just cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until the petals lose their color. Strain and cool.  I plan to keep mine in the fridge and I'm not sure how long it will keep.  A couple of flowers didn't make a whole lot of rose water so I'm sure I'll use it up pretty quickly.

Uses for your DIY rose water:

*Spray on skin after a hot shower for a pleasant scent and to calm the skin.

*Use as an astringent after you wash your face to pull leftover dirt and oil away from the skin.

*Add to fresh lemonade for a fancy twist on a classic drink.  Add some lemon flavored vodka to make it an adult beverage, or jalapeno vodka for a kick.

These are just a few examples.  With a little imagination and a quick Google search I bet we can find lots more uses for fresh rose water.

What will you do with that Valentine's bouquet?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Even Eve craved the Apple

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon talks about how money doesn't solve things and that if you love money you will never have enough of it.  In a society were it's the norm to 'Keep up with the Jones'' it's hard not to get wrapped up in material things.  We want to work hard to provide our children things that we didn't have growing up, but what is the true cost?  Sometimes we are spending to much time with work and not enough time with family or with our relationship with God the Father. We are doing our children a disservice by giving them everything and not letting them work for the things they want.  This is something we are working on correcting in my own house right now.  We don't want Princess to grow up thinking someone should take care of her.  We want her to be independent and not require someone to care for her.

God designed us to desire more.  If you notice, it didn't take much to convince Eve that she 'needed' that apple.  Here Adam and Eve had been told they could have everything in the garden except that one tree. EVERYTHING.  Seriously, God gave them Everything.  They were given everything they could need, yet it still wasn't enough.  Eve still craved more.  The plan was for us to fill our desire with God, not material things, not the knowledge of good and evil, not the all mighty dollar.  With God, Father, Creator, The Great I Am.

So, how do we get ourselves off the merry-go-round of more, more, more?  I believe that if we get down to the nitty gritty and really bare ourselves before the Lord.  Really come clean.  If we ask God to take control of our lives and then actually let go of the wheel and trust that he will drive you down the road you should go down, He will show you the way.  His Way.  I'm talking actual leap of faith stuff here. Walking on a tightrope with God as the only safety net.  I'm not saying run out and do something drastic because you THINK it's what the Lord has planned for you, I'm saying ask for direction then sit still and listen.  Don't reason, don't tell God what you think or what you want to do.  Just sit. Be quiet. Listen.  He's not going to yell at you, it's not really his style.  He wants you to listen and you can't listen with your mouth open.

Thing is, listening is only the first part.  Know what you have to do next?  Act.  We have to trust what God tells us, pray about it for assurance, then DO whatever it is.  This probably won't be easy.  God will probably make you a little uncomfortable to show you that His Way is The Way.  I'm nervous about this, don't get me wrong.  I have no idea what God intends for my life, but I do know that whatever it is, it's much better than anything I can do for myself on this earth.

I think we stay where we are and do what we do because that is what we are comfortable with. Even when we know that it's not what God intended and we know that God can do so much more, we stay where it's comfortable.  God didn't promise comfort, at least I've not come across those verses, have you?  The Bible tells us over and over that following Jesus and doing what God wants us to do is probably going to make us pretty unpopular.  Why do we continue to worship Comfort when we should be following Jesus' teaching and example?  Did that one cut a little deep?  Worshiping Comfort?  Isn't that sacrilege?  Aren't we told 'Have no other gods before me' (Gen 20:3)?  It's right there in the Ten Commandments, first one on the list, yet we worship Comfort instead of following Jesus.  I think it's time to get uncomfortable, don't you?

This week I'm going to dig deep into the book of Ecclesiastes.  I invite you to do the same.  Come on, it's only twelve chapters.  In my bible, which has the smallest font ever, it's only about 6 pages.  It's 16 pages long in my study bible with the larger font and commentary and that's still not that many pages.  I'm interested to hear what you learn from reading these pages.

What has God told you to do lately?